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We are more humane to our pets!
Old 12-07-2013, 11:01 AM   #1
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We are more humane to our pets!

I really have to question the morality of doctor intervention. Medical technology has gotten so advanced, yet, i think more questions need to be asked if the human should really intervene.
Example: My mother died a year ago, from a multitude of health problems, uncontrolled diabetes (her fault), congestive heart failure, kidney failure. Doctors intervened 2 years before she died with a pot pouri of pills to slow heart, make her pee like a race horse, and overall basically slow her system down so that she can survive.

After reflecting on her last 2 years of life in and out of intensive care, and the miserable low quality of life she led her last year, and the heart wrenching last 2 months of life, I have to really question medical morality.

To put it bluntly, I was more humane putting my dog to sleep.

I now celebrate anyone who has made it out of this life with a quick heart attack or sudden death and hope i kick it this way. The optional slow agonizing death is not worth it!

Sorry for the gloomy post, but, I think we all need to ask ourselves, What do we want in the end of life?
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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We've had this discussion here before, so instead of laying out the long case - what did your Mother think? Doctors (and lawyers) are obligated to give us all our options, it's up to the patient and family to play an active if not primary role in withholding end of life treatment. I suspect lots of doctors privately think much of end of life care is a waste, but we can't expect doctors, lawyers or politicians to make those decisions for us.

It's a critical issue, and one of the significant reasons US health care costs are so our of line with all other developed countries, but too few want to have a rational discussion. It'll change when seniors and their families act, not likely before...
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Regardless of whether you are for it or against it, where the forces of demographics, entitlement reform, and science meet, Kevorkian's approach will be embraced by the end of this century.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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We've had this discussion here before, so instead of laying out the long case - what did your Mother think? Doctors (and lawyers) are obligated to give us all our options, it's up to the patient and family to play an active if not primary role in withholding end of life treatment.
You are absolutely correct Midpack, that the family needs to play an active role in withholding treatment. Due to the fact that our family never really talked about this situation, we truly were not prepared for the hard decisions. I can say, we are now after witnessing our mom die. I will be asking the doctor what quality of life could I expect if i accept treatment, when it comes my time. If quality looks to be crap, just give me pain meds, and leave me alone.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:26 AM   #5
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By the way, i am not blaming the medical profession. I blame myselves not preparing mentally for end of life. I plan for retirement, so, i might as well plan how to die too.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:36 AM   #6
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By the way, i am not blaming the medical profession. I blame myselves not preparing mentally for end of life. I plan for retirement, so, i might as well plan how to die too.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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My mom died suddenly, in her own home, 2 years ago. She was 83. Dad is now 87, living in an assisted living facility that he likes. His biggest wish is that all this would just be over already. He's done. He knows he's declining and he doesn't want to use up all his money.

He's always been an upbeat, optimistic guy and he's making the best of his situation. His daily hope is that he join Mom. He has told me that if he could find a painless way to get there he would do it. He'd be very pleased to go to bed and not wake up. No regrets.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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My mom died suddenly, in her own home, 2 years ago. She was 83. Dad is now 87, living in an assisted living facility that he likes. His biggest wish is that all this would just be over already. He's done. He knows he's declining and he doesn't want to use up all his money.

He's always been an upbeat, optimistic guy and he's making the best of his situation. His daily hope is that he join Mom. He has told me that if he could find a painless way to get there he would do it. He'd be very pleased to go to bed and not wake up. No regrets.
My 91 yo old parents both feel the same, and they still live in their home. Life is still just physically tough for them at their age. Thankfully they both have advanced directives and they've sat my sister and I down and made their wishes well known to both of us several times. There's no ambiguity whatsoever.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:36 PM   #9
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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We've had this discussion here before, so instead of laying out the long case - what did your Mother think? Doctors (and lawyers) are obligated to give us all our options, it's up to the patient and family to play an active if not primary role in withholding end of life treatment. I suspect lots of doctors privately think much of end of life care is a waste, but we can't expect doctors, lawyers or politicians to make those decisions for us.

It's a critical issue, and one of the significant reasons US health care costs are so our of line with all other developed countries, but too few want to have a rational discussion. It'll change when seniors and their families act, not likely before...
Neither should we expect tax payers and society to foot the bill for useless care.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:54 PM   #11
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My 91 yo old parents both feel the same, and they still live in their home. Life is still just physically tough for them at their age. Thankfully they both have advanced directives and they've sat my sister and I down and made their wishes well known to both of us several times. There's no ambiguity whatsoever.
Obviously this is an emotionally charged topic full of deep moral issues. Your parents have taken a very practical approach that is probably better than 90% of people in the same situation. And yet, I think this is >still< a tremendous burden to place on one's children. Sometimes things are very clear ("Mom is in pain and there's no hope she'll get better or have an ability to know and react to her surroundings"), but often it's not so clear ("Mom won't get better, but she has some days where she seems happy to see us, and little Suzy gets a lot out her visits to her Great Grandma"). There are lots of prohibitions against it, and it leaves behind a tremendous amount of damage and pain, but if patients can act for themselves it does relieve second-parties from having to decide for them. OTOH, I know that once this becomes acceptable, it will soon become expected (to believe otherwise is, I think, naive).
There are certainly no easy answers
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:28 PM   #12
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My condolences on your mother's passing, and her health struggles. Agree 100% that med tech run amuck can deprive one of their humanity. But in some ways docs & hospitals are just reflecting the "do everything possible" philosophy of many in US society. A philosophy which is also being reflected in veterinary care, BTW.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:31 PM   #13
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...My mother died a year ago, from a multitude of health problems, uncontrolled diabetes (her fault), congestive heart failure, kidney failure. Doctors intervened 2 years before she died with a pot pouri of pills to slow heart, make her pee like a race horse, and overall basically slow her system down so that she can survive. After reflecting on her last 2 years of life in and out of intensive care, and the miserable low quality of life she led her last year, and the heart wrenching last 2 months of life, I have to really question medical morality....
Couldn't your mother or you have talked to the doctors about this? MIL was treated minimally but kindly for medical issues her last few years, after DH's family discussed it with her doctor. I am very sorry.

Eta--sorry, didn't see your earlier reply re talking to doctors.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:10 PM   #14
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Please see my post #6 above. It is extremely important to confront this issue while one is in a mental state to do so, to discuss it with loved ones and to make one's wishes clear in writing in a healthcare directive or living will. A healthcare system that I worked with for many years made this a standard for adults being admitted to hospital and used it as a quality indicator. If there is no clear direction the default will be treatment.

I wonder if Nelson Mandela had one? I suspect not. The family wrangling and futile intensive care that he received over the last few months of his life is typical of what can happen when people do not have a healthcare directive.

Do YOU have a healthcare directive? If not, why not?

I have had one since 1992. I have reviewed it every five years or so and I still agree with what I wrote then.

You may also want to check the legal status of healthcare directives in your jurisdiction.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #15
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Couldn't your mother or you have talked to the doctors about this? MIL was treated minimally but kindly for medical issues her last few years, after DH's family discussed it with her doctor. I am very sorry.
To be honest, when mom was going through this, we had no idea it would go so bad at the end. The doctors were very helpful describing everything, but, its only in this one year reflection after her death that I look back and really have to ask, is there something better? Did my mom have good days in the last year, absolutely. But its because of this experience, I think our whole family will take a different path in the end if it requires significant medical intervention.

Ive done endless searching on the web for my options when ever i have to make the dreaded decision and depending on the type of illness the reaper brings me, I most definitely will not hesitate to go the Palliative care option.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:22 PM   #16
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Neither should we expect tax payers and society to foot the bill for useless care.
Identifying and trusting "The Judge" who determines when and who gets euthanized is the tricky part. Listening to the kiddies go on and on about how mom or dad wouldn't want to spend the money (that the kiddies would otherwise inherit) staying alive makes the kiddies poor prospects. The idea of a "death panel" or some other kind of gov't committee is suspect to lots of folks too. So, I dunno...... I suppose something could be worked out so we get it right most of the time.

Similar questions occur on the other end of life too. How much resource should be spent saving a very premature baby who the docs say won't be able to have a near "normal" life? Who makes the decisions if the parent(s) don't have the resources? Etc.

It's tough stuff.........
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:33 PM   #17
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Regardless of whether you are for it or against it, where the forces of demographics, entitlement reform, and science meet, Kevorkian's approach will be embraced by the end of this century.
Pretty bold and yet useless statement. The end of the century is 86 years away. For all we know the human race could be extinct (super flu, asteroid strike, whatever) or death could be conquered, or we could have discovered warp drive and spread to the stars. Any of these situations or many others could impact the end of life situation. Personally I'm hoping for 2 and 3.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:38 PM   #18
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Identifying and trusting "The Judge" who determines when and who gets euthanized is the tricky part. Listening to the kiddies go on and on about how mom or dad wouldn't want to spend the money (the the kiddies would otherwise inherit) staying alive makes them poor prospects. The idea of a "death panel" or some other kind of gov't committee is suspect to lots of folks. So, I dunno...... I suppose something could be worked out so we get it right most of the time.

Similar questions occur on the other end of life too. How much resource should be spent saving a very premature baby who the docs say won't be able to have a near "normal" life? Who makes the decisions if the parent(s) don't have the resources? Etc.

It's tough stuff.........
If I dare say this, countries where people are way more enlightened and educated than the US make those decisions all the time, e.g. Canada and Belgium. Check out the process in Canada; it's hardly the death panel that some envision. There can be numerous safeguards.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:53 PM   #19
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If I dare say this, countries where people are way more enlightened and educated than the US make those decisions all the time, e.g. Canada and Belgium. Check out the process in Canada; it's hardly the death panel that some envision. There can be numerous safeguards.
I'm glad you're comfortable with those situations and I actually envy your willingness to throw yourself over to them. Philosophically, I'm still between our point and those. And I struggle to feel confident that every Canadian is more "enlightened and educated" than myself.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:23 PM   #20
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I'm glad you're comfortable with those situations and I actually envy your willingness to throw yourself over to them. Philosophically, I'm still between our point and those. And I struggle to feel confident that every Canadian is more "enlightened and educated" than myself.
Ok, maybe not more than you and not everyone of them.

I am refering to not spending tax payers money on just keeping people alive such as those in a persistent vegetative state or those for whom treatment just prolong their agony with no hope of regaining any quality of life. Just because we live in a rich country with good medical technology doesn't mean we have to waste resources. Reasonable people who would like to bring up this conversation are afraid to do so. The American attitude toward a rational discussion of the issue is plain ridiculous. I am not suggesting that older Americans should be put to death just because they are sick and that's not the case in the countries I've cited.
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